Strawberry Music Festival Survival Hangs In Balance — Support Is Needed

fire-crew-camp-mather-entranceThe fate of the Strawberry Music Festivals at Camp Mather near Yosemite now hangs in the balance and the support of the event’s many Northern California Bluegrass Society fans and their friends is now needed.

Background: The hugely successful eclectic roots music festival (including steady regular doses of high quality bluegrass), held on Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend since 1982, has been brought to its knees, first by the economic recession and a run of bad Sierra spring weather, and then by the devastating Rim Fire that forced the last-minute cancellation of the Fall 2013 festival.

strawberry-music-festival-audience-stageThe fire resulted in huge losses to the festival — and left Strawberry Music, Inc. either owing a large number of ticket refunds (after the money had already been spent on staging the festival that never took place) or a replacement festival (which Strawberry has not yet been able to stage).

A Small Business Administration federal loan was arranged as part of the fire disaster recovery for Tuolumne County. This loan would enable the Strawberry company to present a festival that will allow it to fulfill its obligations to holders of outstanding tickets and to make some money that will permit the business to continue to operate and present future festivals. This loan is strictly contingent upon Strawberry presenting a 2014 festival in Tuolumne County. The loan was approved too late to allow a Memorial Day Weekend festival, so as a practical matter, the last chance to use the disaster recovery loan funding will be for a festival held on Labor Day Weekend in 2014.

strawberry-mmm-logoThe City of San Francisco, owner of Camp Mather, has repaired the camp’s water system that was damaged by the Rim Fire (and also other less severe damage to the camp itself) and will hold its family camping sessions this summer. However, the serious drought affecting California has significantly reduced the water flow in the creek that supplies water for the camp. In addition, the US Forest Service has expressed concern that pre-festival camping outside of Camp Mather’s boundaries, where the Rim Fire seriously damaged many trees, may not be safe.

Strawberry has announced that it will answer these concerns by (1) asking festival attendees to bring some water with them to the festival, (2) asking campers to carefully reduce water use, (3) by having the festival bring water in trucks to the event, and (4) to strictly prohibit any pre-event camping outside of Camp Mather.

birch-lake-helicopter-fire-bucketHowever, the City of San Francisco has not yet agreed to allow the Fall 2014 festival to go forward. A favorable decision is needed soon to allow time to plan and execute a festival on Labor Day Weekend.

The likely outcome of the failure to hold a Fall event is that the company and the festival will be wiped out and everyone involved — the company, ticketholders, Tuolumne County businesses, and fans — will lose everything they have invested in this unique, quality music event. In addition, San Francisco will lose substantial future rental revenue, the local area will lose future business from the festival — and the area music community will be the poorer for the event’s demise.

Action Needed: Strawberry has asked that festival supporters send positive communications to San Francisco city officials in support of the 2014 Labor Day festival, and that people planning to attend the event pledge their cooperation regarding water conservation and camping.

Here is the Official Strawberry Announcement with the address for your correspondence:

April 22, 2014

It has recently come to our attention that the permit for the Fall 2014 Festival at Camp Mather is in question due to concerns that have been raised over potable water supply and forest closure conditions on Evergreen Road. Last Tuesday, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a letter to San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department requesting that a permit be issued for the Fall 2014 Festival with language allowing the option for us to mitigate these concerns.

For over 30 years, we have worked with the Tuolumne County Public Works Department and Cal Trans to insure the safe entry and exit of festival goers on Evergreen Road. We are confident in our ability to inform festival participants of the Forest Closure and the importance of complying with Forest Service regulations. Additionally, we are willing to supply potable water, as needed, at the Fall 2014 Festival. We are capable of dealing with all of the issues that have been raised and have done so successfully in the past. We also believe that those of you who wish to attend the Fall Festival will be willing to pack extra water, if necessary, as well as observe the Forest Closure along Evergreen Road and surrounding Camp Mather.

As you know, the permit for the Fall 2014 Festival is required for us to receive previously approved disaster relief funding from the Small Business Administration. Our loan with the SBA was approved, in part, because Strawberry Music Festival is an essential part of the economic recovery of the Groveland area and Hwy 120 corridor businesses. The residents and business owners of this community have suffered enough as a result of the Rim Fire and again during the month long closure of Yosemite National Park. Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator’s office have lent us their full support, because of the positive impact Strawberry has had on the economy and the integrity with which we have conducted our business for over three decades.


It is imperative that we get a permit that allows for us to mitigate issues at Camp Mather so that we can refund our customers and continue to produce future festivals. We remain committed to doing everything possible to make this happen.

strawberry-face-paintingPlease support us in our endeavor to hold the Fall 2014 Festival at Camp Mather by writing positive letters of support and sending them to San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. It is time to let our representatives and those who represent the residents of San Francisco know who we are and what Strawberry means to us.

Thank you,
The Strawberry Staff

Please send your letter to:

Mayor Edwin Lee
City Hall, Room 200
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org

(Note: Strawberry edited this letter after it was sent earlier today to remove a section asking supporters to also write US Senator Diane Feinstein about this matter.)

Looking Ahead To The May 2014 Bluegrass Festivals

santa-cruz-bluegrass-fair-poster-2014

Parkfield Bluegrass Festival

Parkfield Bluegrass Festival

MAY

1-3 — Bluegrass Jam & Campout, Elks Lodge, Hesperia.

3 – NCBS/SCBS Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair, Duck Pond Stage, San Lorenzo Park, Santa Cruz. FREE.

3-4 – Ramona Bluegrass Festival & Old West Fest, Ramona Community Park, Ramona.

8-11 – Parkfield Bluegrass Festival, various venues, Parkfield.

10 – Berkeley Old Time Music Spring Situation, Freight & Salvage, Berkeley.

10 – Bluegrass Pickin’ Picnic, Dahlia Picnic Area, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

berkeley-old-time-music-convention-logo10 – Three Rivers Music Festival, Lions Arena, Three Rivers.

topanga-banjo-fiddle-poster-201410-11 – Calico Ghost Town Bluegrass & Western Spring Festival, Calico Ghost Town Regional Park, Yermo.

18 – Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival, Paramount Ranch, Angoura Hills.

21-26 – Southwest Bluegrass Association Superjam, Hesperia Lakes, Hesperia.

swba-logo22-25 – Delfest,  Allegany County Fairgrounds, Cumberland, MD.

redwood-mountain-faire-tag-logo-201422-26 — Hickstival, Bolado Park, Tres Pinos.

May 30-June 1 — BottleRock, Napa Valley Expo Center, Napa.

bottlerock-2014-againMay 31-June 1 — Pick And Gather Festival, Riverdance Farms, Livingston.

May 31-June 1 — Redwood Mountain Faire, Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton.

The Pick And Gather Festival, Riverdance Farms

The Pick And Gather Festival, Riverdance Farms

Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival To Welcome The Courthouse Ramblers August 7-10

The Courthouse Ramblers

The Courthouse Ramblers

The Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival will welcome The Courthouse Ramblers back to the main stage August 7-10, 2014. The festival benefits the Northern California Bluegrass Society.

The 21st annual GOF will be held at Bolado Park in Tres Pinos (7 miles south of Hollister). Top California bands will perform on 3 stages, while the campground will be filled with great jamming.

tres_pinos_sign

NCBS Website Found Not Vulnerable To “Heartbleed” Security Bug

The diagnostic tools supplied by Norton By Symantec have found that the Northern California Bluegrass Society Website is not vulnerable to the widely-publicized “Heartbleed” security bug.

RBA Will Present May 3 Concert With The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band

Peter Rowan

Peter Rowan

Redwood Bluegrass Associates presents the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band in a Northern California Bluegrass Society-welcomed concert on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

The program will be held on the evening of the afternoon NCBS/SCBS Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair, and many fans will attend both shows to enjoy a full day of bluegrass music.

The last RBA concert of the current season will be held at the First Presbyterian Church Of Mountain View, 1667 Miramonte Avenue, Mountain View.

An open jam hosted by Ed Cirimele will begin at the church at 5:00pm, with the concert to follow at 7:30pm.

bglogo

The Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair Is Coming On May 3, 2014

santa-cruz-city-limit-billboardbglogoThe Santa Cruz Bluegrass FairYour Society’s Beloved Rite Of Spring — is coming on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Duck Pond Stage in San Lorenzo Park, next to the courthouse off Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.

It’s FREE!

Great music with The Naked Bootleggers, Harmony Grits, The Lampel Brothers With Jim Lewin, and Bean Creek.

It will be a lovely spring day in the park, with food, fun, friends, and a raffle with tickets to all the great upcoming festivals — ain’t nothing like it in  the world!

NCBS/SCBS presents The Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair!

NCBS/SCBS presents The Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair!

Breaking News: Additions To The Bluegrass Schedule, The Hossettes

Rick Sparks

Rick Sparks

Here is the breaking news in Northern California bluegrass:

Late Additions To The Northern California Bluegrass Schedule

Some spring festivals and concerts are just now coming together and looking like lots of fun. Here are some late additions to the Northern California bluegrass schedule:

Saturday, April 19 – Rick Sparks & Karen Roemmich Barn Concert at Blue Moon Ranch in Bonny Doon. 4:30pm afternoon show, with jamming to follow in the evening. RSVP — (Eric & Barbara Burman) bluemoonranch (at) msn (dot) com.

Saturday, April 19 — Third Annual Seabright Stringfest, Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz. Just-announced line-up of old-time & bluegrass bands all afternoon and evening. FREE.

Earl White & Adrienne Davis Of The Earl White Band

Earl White & Adrienne Davis Of The Earl White Band

Thursday-Monday, May 22-26 — Hickstival, Bolado Park, Tres Pinos. Bluegrass campout with performances on Memorial Day Weekend. Thursday has been added and bands have just been announced.

These are all small, fun gatherings within easy driving distance of the Bay Area.

No Name Band Now Has A Name: The Hossettes

Nameless no more, the brand-new Davis-based, all-female bluegrass band has been christened “The Hossettes,” featuring Hailey Pexton, Angela Personini, Karen Wilhoyte, and Jenny Lynn Williams.

The Hossettes

The Hossettes



Faux Renwah To Return To 2014 Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival August 7-10

GOF favorite Faux Renwah will return to the main stage at the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, set for August 7-10, 2014 at Bolado Park, Tres Pinos (7 miles south of Hollister).

Official GOF Festival Flier

The 21st annual gathering of top California bluegrass bands is a benefit for the Northern California Bluegrass Society and will feature great jamming bands and performances on 3 stages.

Chris Stevenson of Faux Renwah, Homecoming Queen, Douglas County High School, Gardnerville, NY (1967)

Chris Stevenson of Faux Renwah, Homecoming Queen, Douglas County High School, Gardnerville, NV (1967)